Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The gender thing

I’m tired of the gender thing being brought up. You’re either a good writer or you ain’t. Because a writer has a 50% chance that any of the characters he/she creates will be a woman, one has to be able to write female characters — or risk the wrath of 50% of the people out there in reader-land. Same goes for male characters. Or any characters.

I ask my wife to read my novels first because I know I can count on her to be blunt. (I once asked my wife how I played a Mozart horn concerto. Her answer: “Mozart beat you 5-0.”) I will listen to her opinions, we will chaff, defending our points, then I will go away and think about it. I might or might not wind up taking her advice to heart. The fact that my wife is a woman is beside the point. She is perspicacious to the nth degree, and that’s why I trust her.

If you’re a good writer, you can write men, women, aardvarks or aliens. The only reason I would ask a woman for an opinion about female characters is if I felt I might have gone off the deep end. It’s not that I’m particularly sensitive; I just want to get it right. I would always check with a violinist to see if I got violin-y things right because I’m not a violinist.

And how come it’s almost always women who bring this up?


This is posting 1000 here on Type M! Happy anniversary to us and all that. And many thanks to all of you who come here to read what we've written. You should celebrate, too!


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See, anonymous agrees with me.

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